Polk ranks state’s 13th lowest unemployment in February

Published 9:59 pm Monday, April 18, 2016

By Leah Justice


Polk County was ranked as having the 13th lowest unemployment rate in February at 5.2 percent, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce.

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Polk’s rate was down from 5.4 percent in January, but up from its December 2015 rate of 5.0.

Polk was ranked 24th lowest in the state in December.

Buncombe County remained the state’s lowest unemployment rate in February at 4.4 percent, followed by Wake County at 4.7 percent, Orange County at 4.7 percent, Chatham County at 4.7 percent, Henderson County at 4.9 percent, Granville County at 4.9 percent, Union County at 4.9 percent, Durham County at 5 percent, Yadkin County at 5 percent, Alexander County at 5 percent, Cabarrus County at 5.1 percent and Davie County at 5.1 percent, according to the department of commerce. The counties of Johnston and Watauga also shared Polk’s 5.2 percent unemployment rate.

Nearby McDowell County ranked 28th in the state with a 5.5 percent unemployment rate, while Transylvania ranked 45th with a 6.1 percent rate, Cleveland County was 51st with a 6.3 percent rate and Rutherford County ranked 89th with an 8.3 percent unemployment rate.

The highest unemployment rates statewide came from the counties of Swain (10.2 percent), Scotland (10.5 percent), Tyrrell (12.8 percent), Dare (12.9 percent), Graham (13.3 percent) and Hyde (15.3 percent), according to the department of commerce.

The statewide unemployment rate remained the same as January at 5.7 percent, with Polk County remaining under the statewide rate so far this year.

Polk’s February unemployment rate was based on its labor force of 8,829 with 458 persons unemployed, according to department of commerce data.

In comparison, Rutherford County’s 8.3 percent rate was based on a labor force of 24,882 and 2,074 persons unemployed.

The state’s releases give labor force and unemployment estimates from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program, which is a federal-state cooperative endeavor, according to the department of commerce.

North Carolina’s seasonally adjusted March unemployment rate was 5.5 percent, which was unchanged from its February revised rate, according to the department of commerce’s data released on April 15. The national rate in March was 5.0 percent.

The number of people employed in North Carolina increased 34,284 over the month of March to 4,591,429 and increased 128,774 over the year, according to the department of commerce. The number of people unemployed decreased by 131 persons over the month of March to 265,918 and decreased 7,017 over the year.

County unemployment rates for the month of March are scheduled to be released on April 27.